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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Upskilling for the Audio Department

Audio publishing is growing in popularity. The pandemic has spurred a significant increase in audiobook sales, valued for their convenience and accessibility, even among less traditional book-buying groups. As a fast-moving, digital-focused sector, it’s imperative to understand the demands of audio roles and strive to align your skillset accordingly. If you are organised, proactive and have strong communication skills, these may be the perfect roles for you!

Audio Publisher

An Audio Publisher works with production, rights, distribution, sales and editorial departments. They come up with campaigns and strategies for potential audiobooks whilst overseeing a team of Audio Editors and Assistants.

Audio Assistant

Assistants work alongside Audio Publishers whilst hiring Actors and external Producers to generate innovative ways to record and launch an audiobook.

In Conversation with Alessia De Silva, Editorial Assistant at PRH Audio

What did you wish you’d known before starting your job?

I only started listening to audiobooks and podcasts fairly recently (I’m a huge fan now!), which means I’m not as familiar with different voices as I’d like to be. I’m keen to get involved with castings but there are many narrators I haven’t heard of before, so I wish I’d started listening to audiobooks sooner! I also wish that I’d worked with Excel spreadsheets more and knew my way around filtering, sorting and VLookup, as that would have been useful. What kind of awareness do you need to build up?

It’s important to have an awareness of the sounds used in an audiobook - a great example is Kay’s Anatomy by Adam Kay. Ask yourself: What effect do various sounds have on the listener? If the audiobook is aimed at children, how do these engage them and grab their attention? Why has a narrator been chosen [and] what difference do they make to the listening experience? How does an Editorial Assistant role in audio differ from a print division role?

Before starting, I didn’t fully understand how the role of an editor in the audio team differs from editing in a print division. You don’t go through a manuscript looking for grammatical errors; instead, it’s more focused on managing the audio process to cast the correct narrator, acquiring the right titles and liaising with everyone to ensure the recording goes smoothly! Even at Assistant level, it’s handy to know this as you work closely with editors to support their projects. What research could you do in preparation for an interview?

Some research on the duration of audiobook recording and how much prep an actor and producer need to do before could be helpful! There’s a video on Penguin’s YouTube channel which provides some nice insights, so show your knowledge of this in applications. There are various roles involved (editors, actors, producers, proofers and an ops team) who work with our retailers.

Online Content

Audio Software

  • Audible: a popular audiobook service from Amazon. This involves a paid subscription but you can sign up for a free 30 day trial.

  • Apple iTunes Audiobooks: another great software where users can purchase audiobooks. Sales have increased since COVID-19, with dedicated special offers and ‘Top Free Charts’. There has been a rise in children’s audiobooks including comics such as Lock and Key and The Rise of the Dragons.

  • Adobe Audition: a professional digital audio workstation where you can edit different audio narratives and add music. Students and Teachers also receive a 65% discount on Creative Cloud. Get started today!


  • Publishing Insight by Flavia Morcocci: she chatted with Louise Newton from Little, Brown in S1 E8, discussing her career path in audio. Follow Flavia on Twitter @FlamFlam91 to keep up to date!

  • This Is The Author by PRH Audio: the behind the scenes of audio processes with names such as Clint Edwards and Paola Ramos. Check them out on Twitter @PRHAudio.

  • For a more comprehensive list of audio publishers, check out Learn Out Loud.

That’s all from the Upskilling team for 2020 everyone! Be sure to tune in to Issue 14 in the New Year, when we will be back with more publishing insights.



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